Waiting is hard. But with God, the promises are worth the wait.
Author: M. J. Thomas
Publisher: WorhtyKids/Ideals, 2018
Written for Ages: 6-9
Summary: Peter and Mary stumble into a secret room in Great Uncle Solomon’s house. They learn that their great uncle was a spy and pick up a few tricks of the trade before their next adventure takes them to days of Joshua. Camped out on the edge of the Jordan River, the Hebrew people wait for God’s signal to march around Jericho. Mary and Peter use their new skills as spies in Jericho. But, will they be able to solve the secret of the scroll before the walls come tumbling down?
Scripture Connection: The book reimagines Joshua 1-6, where Joshua is called to lead the people of God into the Promised Land, sends spies into Jericho who is aided by Rahab, and then the conquering of Jericho.
Theological Connection: The secret message of the scroll is “God always keeps his promises.” The Hebrew people had to wait a really long time before the promise of the Promised Land was fulfilled. This is a common theme throughout the Bible. Abraham had to wait a long time for God’s promise of a child to happen. The people waited a long time for the arrival of the Messiah. The disciples waited and waited for Jesus to fulfill the Kingdom. Waiting is hard, but God has a plan.
Justice Connection: According to Joshua 2:1, the spies “went, and entered the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab.” Thomas is careful not to mention Rahab’s occupation in his chapter book, though he does describe her as wearing red, an often used color to describe such women. Rahab plays an important role in the salvation history. In Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus, there are only four women mentioned. Rahab is one of them. This woman whom society chooses not to see, and would be considered unworthy by many, is chosen by God to play a key role not just in the Hebrew people’s claim of the Promised Land, but the promise fulfilled through Jesus Christ. This could provide an opportunity to discuss with your children that God loves those who are often disregarded because of their difference or situation.
Faith Talk (God Talk):
- If you were a spy what would your secret code name be?
- What was the promise that God had made to the Hebrew people?
- Why do you think the people had to wait so long for the promise to be fulfilled?
- Do you like to wait? Why is it hard to wait?
- If you had a chance to meet Joshua, what would you like to ask him?
Parenting Connection: Patience is a virtue. But waiting is so hard, especially for children. And for us parents. Sometimes we have to check ourselves and remind that we too need to wait and be patient. As our children become more independent, we need to become more patient. They will not do everything we way we would, and that’s okay.
At the back of the book, a suggested reading guide connecting Joshua’s story in the Book of Joshua with Mary and Peter’s adventure. This would be a great activity or family devotional time for parents and children to do together. Let your children consider how they would retell this story in their context. There is also the suggestion of reading Numbers 13, which tells of when Joshua was a spy.
Consider This: Peter and Mary learn that God’s secret code name for the Hebrew people was “YHWH”. Peter uses this code name to let Joshua know that he is not a spy from Jericho. In the New Testament, Christians made the sign of the fish as a way of knowing who was a Jesus follower. For both the Hebrews and the early Christians, they were not always welcomed because of their faith. So, these secret codes were helpful in knowing who was a friend, not a foe. For some children, this may be a hard concept to understand because in our society today, Christianity is widely accepted. But not everywhere.
It may be a fun activity to work together to develop a secret code for your group.
You can buy your own copy at Amazon or check it out at your local library. And, if you follow along via email (see the sidebar) you could win your own copy of Journey to Jericho.